As much as we try to impart our personal values and worldview to our children, it seems the world is just as busy feeding them its own version of the truth. As they grow, we are sometimes shocked to see how–in subtle or not-so-subtle ways–the messages repeated by our culture may be sinking in deeper than we want. We need to help them distinguish the difference between truth and lies, but in order to do that we need to know what lies they are believing.
So, see if your children (or you) believe these five lies and see what you can do to counter the culture.
You’d think that this one idea could be universally agreed upon: honesty is good and dishonesty is bad. Yet, we live in a world that has diluted honesty into something measured by degrees, suggesting that there are some situations where dishonesty is acceptable, or at least excusable: helping a friend cheat on a test or lying about someone because they “deserve it.” So what is the real message your children are getting?
Honesty and integrity are the defining cornerstones of personal character. It governs how we function in relationships and in our careers. Don’t assume that your kids automatically connect the dots between those small decisions (being truthful with a friend, doing your own work for school, etc.) and who they are. Don’t let the world lower the bar for your kids with a wink and a smile.
What our children see and listen to does affect them. If they try to tell you differently, “Mom, I’m not even listening to the words; I’m just listening to the music!” know this: studies have found that children who listen to sexually explicit music, or lyrics that give a degrading, tough, or non-committal take on relationships, are twice as likely to engage in early sexual behavior.
Don’t back down about monitoring what your children listen to and what they see.
There’s no doubt that our assumptions about marriage and divorce are changing with each generation. Statistics show that young people today are far less likely to marry than their parents, and that fewer young people believe that marriage can actually work. Your children will likely take their cues from you on the importance of marriage and what it takes to help one thrive. Take the time to communicate your beliefs to them, rather than allowing the media to form your child’s perspective. Here are some places to start:
Taking your children to church and other faith-based activities is wonderful, but it’s only part of the picture when it comes to instilling them with a life-long faith. No one has more influence over your child’s beliefs about God and our relationship with Him than you do—if you use it. Your silence on matters of faith and what it means to you personally may leave your children to assume that it’s not a priority in your life and, as a result, that it doesn’t really matter in theirs.
It’s also important to realize that your children are growing up in a culture that pushes back against religious faith in a way that it didn’t a generation ago.
Tell us! What other lies do you think kids believe today?